May 10, 2021

Swedish bank announces SEK 4.6 million fine for AML deficiencies

On May 5, 2021, Swedbank AB, a Nordic-Baltic banking group based in Stockholm, announced that the Disciplinary Committee of Nasdaq Stockholm fined the bank SEK 46.6 million ($5.5 million), or the equivalent of 12 annual fees, for alleged AML deficiencies that were, according to the bank, known by its former top management for a long period of time.  Swedbank also acknowledged on April 27, 2021 in its first quarterly 2021 report that it had AML shortcomings, and failed to fully satisfy Nasdaq’s disclosure requirements between December 2016 to February 2019.  In this financial report, the bank also stated that it concurred with Nasdaq’s conclusions and revealed that it had allocated SEK 30 million, or the equivalent of 7.5 annual fees, in anticipation of the fine.  

Swedbank’s President and CEO Jens Henriksson issued a statement accepting the Nasdaq decision, and indicated that while the bank has strengthened its processes over the last year, the “decision means that yet another issue concerning the bank’s historical shortcomings is closed.”

Swedbank’s Baltic businesses in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been the focus of multiple investigations since 2019 when a local news program made allegations that the bank had engaged in money laundering in Estonia in conjunction with Danske Bank.  Shortly after the broadcast, Swedbank obtained a preliminary report on the AML claims and procured outside counsel to conduct an internal investigation, prompting various international authorities to launch their own investigations. To address AML concerns, Swedbank has made a number of improvements including its collaboration with other Nordic banks to create a platform for handling Know Your Customer (KYC) data.

Swedbank Press Release | Swedbank First Quarter 2021 Report